Number one in Europe for sustainable development

The quality and scale of our impact against the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is unmatched. We’re the only university in the world to rank in the top ten in the Times Higher Education Impact Rankings for five years running.

Unrivalled social and environmental impact

We are number one in the UK and Europe, and number two in the world for social and environmental impact (Times Higher Education Impact Rankings 2023).

Our commitment to achieving the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs) is unmatched. We're the only university in the world to rank in the top ten in every year of the Times Higher Education Impact Rankings.

In 2023, we ranked first for our work to meet SDG 15 – Life on Land and third for SDG 11 – Sustainable Cities and Communities and SDG 12 – Responsible Consumption and Production.

Our role in tackling the SDGs

The 17 SDGs are the world’s call to action on the most pressing challenges and opportunities facing humanity and the natural world, and we’re playing a leading role in tackling them.

As one of the world’s leading research institutions and the UK’s only university to have social responsibility as a core goal, The University of Manchester is playing a leading role in tackling the SDGs in four ways – through our research, learning and students, public engagement activities and responsible campus operations. Our 2021/22 SDG report outlines how are tackling the SDGs (PDF, 11.2MB) and you can search our directory of activities for examples of live projects that are targeted at solving these challenges.

We are helping tackle the UN's Sustainable Development Goals 

Through our research 

We're delivering on the UN SDGs by creating a healthier, fairer and greener world, through our research, collaborations and partnerships.

We’ve contributed 21,571 research publications across all 17 SDGs over the past five years – representing 4% of the UK’s research on the goals. Our five research beacons – advanced materials, biotechnology, cancer, energy, and global inequalities – are examples of our pioneering work tackling the world’s biggest challenges.

Through our teaching

We’re committed to empowering students with the knowledge, skills and opportunities to understand and address all of the SDGs. We do this through:

Through our public engagement

We hold a prestigious Gold Watermark for public engagement and aim to involve and inspire local and global communities with the SDGs. A key way that we achieve this is through work at our pioneering cultural institutions – Manchester Museum, the Whitworth, Jodrell Bank Discovery Centre and the John Rylands Research Institute and Library.

Through our campus operations

As one of our region’s largest anchor institutions we’re addressing the SDGs through our campus operations, policies and processes. We’re a living wage accredited employer, a top ranking institution for LGBT-inclusivity, hold quality marks for gender, disability and racial equality, enact responsible methods of procurement and investment and have made a commitment to zero carbon in-line with Manchester’s 2038 goal.